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« | Home | »

Do MMA fans care about steroids and drug testing?

By Adam Morgan | June 17, 2007

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By Adam Morgan

Related article: How big of a drug problem does MMA have?

With the recent result of Royce Gracie testing positive for nandrolone, the question of steroids and drug testing’s prevalence in MMA once again becomes a major issue.

Read on…

Just days earlier, former NFL player Johnnie Morton tested positive for anabolic steroids after his fight with Bernard Ackah on the same K-1 Dynamite card that Gracie was a part of. No wonder Morton refused his post-fight test.

Both fighters have been suspended for a year. Morton may risk losing his MMA license.

When Johnnie Morton tests positive for steroids, I am sadly not surprised. When an MMA legend such as Royce Gracie tests positive for a commonly used anabolic steroid, I am nothing but shocked and disappointed. Fans should be concerned about doping, drug testing, and making sure fighters aren’t cheating.

Shouldn’t they?

Or will they turn the other cheek on drug testing and doping like many baseball fans and pro-wrestling fans have? Barry Bonds’ hat size has changed dramatically as he has gotten older. His shoe size, his jersey, size, everything screams “enhancement” about this guy. But, there he is at home plate, chasing Hank Aaron’s record down. For as many people who don’t like Barry Bonds, there are equally as many who either don’t think Bonds took steroids or simply don’t care.

Does the same attitude apply to mixed martial arts?

A part of me says yes, it does. Do I care if Nick Diaz is smoking weed? No. Do I care if Melvin Guillard does coke? No. Do I care if Diego Sanchez gets high? No.

Ask me, however, if I care if a fighter uses steroids and I will resoundingly tell you “hell yes” I care.

Why?

Because steroids are performance enhancing. Especially in a sport like fighting, where brute strength can be a tremendous advantage. Even if a fighter who is using steroids loses, it’s cheating because he had tried to give himself an unfair advantage before the fight even began.

Call me a hypocrite, but I don’t care if fighters are using recreational drugs on their own time. That’s their own choice and yes, it’s against the law, but not performance-enhancing. What I care about is fighters using drugs that enhance their performance.

The legitimacy and the integrity of the sport of mixed martial arts is very fragile right now. The last thing the industry needs is a Barry Bonds-type steroid scandal. So, let’s make testing for steroids an absolute must at every fight for the sake of the industry’s credibility.

Topics: Adam Morgan, K-1, MMA | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “Do MMA fans care about steroids and drug testing?”

  1. Jonathan says:

    No, I do not believe that they do. I don’t, because in almost every case that I have seen, those that have taken the supplements/steroids/horse tranquilizers have lost their fights. But the general public does not really care, in my opinion, because they do not see the effect of said substances in the ring/cage when the people who juiced go to fight.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    As long as offenders are suspended, I could care less. I am a huge baseball fan, and I want them to test. Beyond that, I just want to watch the sport.

  3. Doug says:

    A pretty big difference is that you cited and compared Royce Gracie and Johnnie Morton who both tested positive, with Barry Bonds who has never failed a drug/steroid test. I’m not a Bonds fan by any means, but it’s a lot easier to look the other way when a failed test hasn’t been produced–I don’t see anyone supporting Rafael Palmeiro or Jose Canseco.

  4. Mateo says:

    While it sucks for the fighters to have to pee in a cup before a fight, I think it is a good trade off for finding out cheaters. I don’t like hearing about any MMA fighter testing positive for any banned substance. I am glad that they get tested.

    When somebody like Royce Gracie is reported to have failed a drug test, it makes me question the results. I am already making excuses for him because of how long he has been in the game. I wonder why that is. How could someone like that be so careless? Could there be a valid excuse? It is not that I am a huge Royce fan, just I think highly of the veterans of this sport.

    Is America the only country that tests fighters with UAs?

    (Even the the threads at Sherdog are not defending the cheaters. That is shocking to me for some reason. I think the majority of MMA fans do not want MMA fighters taking performing enhancing drugs.)

  5. Fight Dude says:

    Why do you care Adam? Is it you in the ring? No.

    You pay for a product. If you dont like that PROFESSIONAL athletes take performance enhancing supplements then dont pay for the product. You can then go spend your money on watching your events full of athletes on perfromance decreasing drugs. Its their livelyhood your are deciding. You who just watch.

    If it’s OK to take protein, vitamins, things found at GNC then why is is so bad for an athlete to take something that is proven to work as described unlike some of the GNC type products?

    We as fans need to get out of the personal lives of athletes and certainly stop telling them how to live their lives form behind our computers. They are the ones who put their lives on the line…we ar merely spectators.

    FD

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    Why do you care Adam? Is it you in the ring? No.

    The issue of performance-enhancing drugs on the surface has nothing to do with what takes place in the ring, which is precisely why this issue draws so many emotions — because the activity of cheating is occuring outside of the ring.

    I can safely say, coming from a pro-wrestling background, that there are plenty of valid reasons for fans to be concerned about rampant drug use by fighters. Many of those reasons can be found at cemeteries across North America at gravesites, with headstones displaying names and faces of people in the fight industry who have died before the age of 50 for a certain reason.

  7. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Anabolic steroids are all schedule iii drugs under the controlled substances act. Typically the amounts consumed by professional athletes significantly exceed what would be prescribed by a sane doctor for their approved medical purposes, and are obtained outside the united states or inside the united states in extremely illicit ways since they are available only be prescription in the US.

    Taking steps which are illegal to improve your performance in a sporting event is unethical, and contrary to the spirit of fair competition.

    So yeah, I care.

  8. Ivan Trembow says:

    “I can safely say, coming from a pro-wrestling background, that there are plenty of valid reasons for fans to be concerned about rampant drug use by fighters. Many of those reasons can be found at cemeteries across North America at gravesites, with headstones displaying names and faces of people in the fight industry who have died before the age of 50 for a certain reason.”

    Exactly. You could also ask any of the families that have been left behind when their loved ones died as a result of steroid use and/or pain pill addictions and/or recreational drug use.

  9. Ivan Trembow says:

    … and before anyone comes on here with the usual “Anabolic steroids are perfectly harmless!” BS, I would just ask this: Do your research, and do it on actual medical web sites, not web sites that also just happen to sell steroids. Read the autopsy report and coroner’s findings on any number of dead pro wrestlers, specifically the all-too-similar parts about their grossly enlarged hearts (which require more blood to be pumped to the heart), their narrowed blood vessels in their hearts (which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood), and their enlarged other internal organs (which require more blood to be pumped to them as well, thus making the heart work harder). And do some research on arterosclerotic coronary disease, which an alarming number of these wrestlers have been found to have in their autopsies, with steroids cited as a major (or THE major) cause of it in several of the coroners’ reports.

  10. klown says:

    Adam and Zach,

    Thanks as always for the ethical focus, on the issues of doping and corruption. Zach (in his last post) is apologetic about the “moral crusading” but I applaud you for it. It’s why FightOpinion is the best source for intelligent, ethical, entertaining MMA analysis.

    Adam, I fully agree with the distinction you draw between recreational drug use and performance-enhancing drug use. I believe the state has no business interfering with citizens’ choice to use substances recreationally, but the use of dangerous drugs to cheat in athletic competition needs to clamped down.

  11. MoreThanUFC says:

    There is no doubt to me that A LOT of fighters are stacking in training. Then a month or two out depending on what’s been ingested, they stop and clear. If the UFC wants to legitimize themselves on this issue, every fighter will be tested at the time of signing the bout agreement, the median day of the agreement, before the bout, and then immediately after. That is the only way to rid our sport of steriods.

  12. GassedOut says:

    Do MMA fans care about steroids and drug testing?

    This one does. Why, you ask?

    Two words: Eddie Guerrero.

    ‘Nuff said.

  13. Grape Knee High says:

    Let’s be honest here. There is no realistic way that the UFC or any MMA organization will be able to rid the sport of performance enhancing drugs.

    Some sporting organizations do perform much more rigorous testing (see cycling, Olympic sports) but there is no evidence that there is not rampant drug use, if anything more and more sophisticated drugs are being developed and used. Given that the science of detecting usage is always in a reactive position, there will always be ways for athletes to abuse performance enhancers in such a way to escape detection (see Balco’s “the cream and the clear” before it was outed by an Olympic trainer).

    I am not saying that the UFC should not do drug testing; they absolutely should above and beyond whatever the the athletic commissions decide they want to do. I think every fighter in every bout in every UFC event should be tested under rules conforming to IOC drug testing rules. However, assuming that more testing will abolish steroid usage — or even assure that a Barry Bonds type scandal will not happen — is a bit naive.

  14. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    MoreThanUFC, that’s exactly the way that steroids are typically used in any case. You’re on, then you’re off. It’s cyclical. UFC puts fighters under contract, and I would be in favor of their contracts requiring NFL style random testing for the duration of the contract.

    In the NFL, the league calls you up and tells you it’s time for your drug test, and wherever you are, you report to one of their authorized labs. Period. If you don’t show up within the 24-48 hour period, then you’re suspended.

    They should also provide samples immediately after the fight, as is the standard in the Olympics and most world championships at this point.

  15. Franky says:

    I like the drug testing policies. I spend a lot of time defending this sport against other people and I think that the drug testing is a great positive for MMA. I agree about making in required for every fight. It adds so much to the sports credibility.

  16. Al Yu says:

    I don’t think fans care about steroids and drug testings. Yes, it is an issue that can’t be ignored but I don’t think fans and media are going to give it mainstream-caliber attention until the more famous fighters have tested positive.

    Can you imagine what would happen if say Randy Couture made a successful defense of his belt AND tested positive for steroids?

    If MMA was looking for a black eye….

  17. chairibofjustice says:

    It’s my general opinion that the real issue for me about steroids in MMA, is the health issue. Because the claim that steroids somehow give a fighter an advantage in MMA is not one I actually buy into. I have yet see a fighter win in the long run by bulking up and getting bigger muscles.

    A lot of people have this belief that somehow looking like a body builder will give you an advantage in sports. Where in my personal experience, looking like a body builder in sports is probably the last thing you want to do, especially MMA. You put on weight, which in turn makes you weigh more and limits your cardio, and let’s not forget your range of motion.

    MMA is sport based upon speed, cardio, and fluidity. Sure if all you do is fight second rate opponents you can just use your size to bruise your way to a win. But against a good fighter it’s going to come as disadvantage.

    I mean all you really have to do is go watch Belfort/Couture I as a great example of this lie that steroids somehow give you an advantage in MMA.

    Belfort was juiced to friggin’ gills in match, swollen with acne too boot. It was disgusting.

  18. Fight Dude says:

    Wow. I am not surprised but yet still shocked. Its amazing how all of you have decided what a person should be able to do with their bodies. I can tell you that all of those wrestlers Zach mentioed mainly died as a result of “Narcotics and Alchohol” abuse. Basically, is it surprising to hear of a drug addicted alcholic dying?

    Drinking and narcotics are a much more pronounced health issue for fighters. Hell, for the majority public. You gonna restrict how much and when they are allowed to drink? They don’t have to take steroids during the fight for you all to disparage them. They could coke and drink, just not inthe ring and thats cool? Personally, I think its their coice but then, I am not telling people what to do to themselves.

    Hell, if Eddie G had decided to end his life with a gun it is his choice and while sucks for fans he really only owes his family for that choice, not us the fans.

    I hope my athletes do what they can to be the best they can be. I don’t care about what they do to themselves. Thats the thing with morality, where do you draw the line? They are only hurting themselves if in fact they are actually hurting themselves.

    Plus if steroids where SUCH and advantage then why do people who take them lose just like everyone else?

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